We don't usually involve ourselves with questions sent to advice columnists, since the advice columnist genre is all used up. But as a public service, we feel compelled to address the matter of Handling Mistaken Sexy Instant Messages.

Some lady writes to Washington Post advice columnist "Ask Amy" today to report that while at work, she received an IM reading "Hey sexy" from an unknown person. She replied "Who is this?" but received no answer. The unknown user signed off.

At this point—if we were in the advice industry—we would advise said person to utter the word "huh," then shut down the computer and go home. Alas, this is not what the advice-seeker did:

I Googled the screen name and in the list of results from the search was the Facebook page of the husband of one of my friends...I've never actually met or talked to him before, although we're Facebook friends

Okay, fine. Now you've determined the identity of the Mistaken IM Sender. When you see him, you can drop hints about your knowledge of his identity and watch mortification envelop him. Happy now? No, the person in question is not happy yet.

But then further down the list of results in the Google search was a link to a personal ad he posted on an adult Web site.

He posted his age and said he's married and bisexual and is looking for e-mails, chats, meetings and "casual encounters" with women or couples...Maybe my friend and her husband are into this together. She doesn't seem like the type, but you never know. If not, my heart breaks for her and her 3-year-old and newborn.

Should I tell her about this?...I have considered sending her an anonymous e-mail from a dummy e-mail account.

ANONYMOUS EMAIL: "Dear friend—do not ask who I am. Know only that I am someone close to you. I want you to know that I have seen your husband's sexy personal ad, which maybe you were also involved in, trying to get a threesome together and all. Take your child and run far, far away. Unless, you know, you were in on the sexy personal ad. In which case, try not to think about which of your friends is sending this email. Regards... A FRIEND."

Anyhow, let's all just agree to ignore Mistaken Sexy IMs, for the sake of having a civilized world.

[WaPo, photo via Shutterstock.com]